BIOL 1902 Lecture Notes - American Bittern, Crypsis, Automeris Io

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29 Mar 2012
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Natural History – Some Notes for Week 1
Natural History: An observational science that involves looking at all living things.
Natural history knowledge is essential for assessments of ecosystems or habitats. It
is also one of the most enjoyable pursuits in the world.
Naturalist: One who studies Natural History. Clothes must be worn and are not
optional.
Animals: A Kingdom that includes Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish, Mammals,
Insects, Spiders, Clams, and lots of other organisms.
Natural Selection: the driving force behind evolution. It consists of all the
selective pressures placed on plants and animals by the environment (such as wind
or cold or drought) or by animals (such as predators or even members of the same
species). Those poorly adapted do not survive to pass on their genes and those that
are better adapted tend to survive and pass on their genes allowing the adaptation
to persist into the future and possibly become more refined. Natural Selection was
first recognized by Charles Darwin.
Adaptation: any feature that offers a plant or animal an advantage in solving any
life problem that give it a chance of surviving and reproducing. An adaptation is
not an act of intelligence or a planned solution but a physical, physiological, or
behavioural trait that has evolved because of the selective pressures of natural
selection. No adaptation is perfect and often an adaptation has drawbacks
associated with it that require another adaptation to resolve. This makes Natural
History so very, very interesting because never is there only one solution to any
problem. Instead, many solutions have arisen to solve every challenge.
DEFENCES OF ANIMALS:
A) PHYSICAL
CAMOUFLAGE: colours and patterns that allow animals to blend into the
background.
Cryptic behaviour: Remaining motionless to allow camouflage to work.
Crypsis: the art of concealment or remaining hidden
Types of Camouflage
1. Background Matching: Having the same general patterns and colours as the
immediate environment. Examples: For sun-dappled forest habitats, blotches and
earth-toned colours help animals hide. Examples: ground nesting birds such as
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